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Tuesday Newsletter - May 18, 2010


  Register today for Convention '10

Interested in advertising in Tuesday? E-mail Kelley Burchell at

Register Now, Pay Later for Convention ‘10
NTA Mourns Loss of USTOA President Bob Whitley
NTA Insurance Coverage Regarding Iceland Volcano
NTA, USA Represented at COTTM; Met with Henan Province Officials
Gulf Coast Oil Spill Update
Airplanes Grounded Monday by Iceland Volcano Ash Cloud
Tourism Cares to Award IATAN Scholarship
Intro to New Social Media Network Foursquare
Will your Product or Destination Be Featured in August Courier?
What's New in Travel News
CEO Position Open with Black Hills, Badlands & Lakes Association

Register Now, Pay Later for Convention ‘10        Convention 10

Did you know that you have the option to be invoiced for your Convention '10 registration? Whether your budget is approved now, or several months from now, you can make sure your spot is secured at the place for business.

Not only can you secure your space, but you can also register before the early-bird deadline of July 9 and save money too. Suppliers and DMOs who register now save US$200 off the regular registration. Tour operators save US$110 on registration and may be eligible for up to a US$650 rebate to offset costs of travel and lodging ...but only  early-bird registrations are eligible.

Visit the Convention Web site and select the "check" option on the payment screen. It's that simple. Questions? E-mail your member services department for assistance.

Want more exposure at Convention? Sponsorships are now available and are sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Contact Karla DiNardo by email or by phone at 800.682.8886, ext. 4232 or + 1.859.226.4232 to discuss your sponsorship today!

We can't wait to see you in Montreal, which was recently named the number one North American city to host international associative events, according to the 2009 International Congress and Convention Association official rankings.

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NTA Mourns Loss of USTOA President Bob Whitley  

Robert Whitley, longtime leader of the U.S. Tour Operators Association and a central figure in the travel industry, died May 13 of complications from abdominal surgery at the age of 66. Click here to go to the official USTOA memorial page.

"I am shocked and saddened by the sudden loss of my dear friend and colleague Robert Whitley," said NTA President Lisa Simon, CTP. "This is a significant loss-to USTOA and to our industry. Bob was a good man, exceptional leader and long-time friend. There are no words to describe how our world will change without him."

Whitley guided the USTOA for 32 years. Before joining the USTOA, Whitley held positions as director of the Florida and Pennsylvania departments of tourism and as director of the Virginia Beach Convention and Tourist Bureau.

Whitley is survived by his wife, Carol; three children, Scott, Sean and Kelly; and five grandchildren.

A Memorial Service for Bob has been planned, followed by a reception. If you are planning to attend the reception, please e-mail and include your contact information.Bob Whitley Collage

Memorial Service
Wednesday, May 19 at 1 p.m.
First Congregational Church of Ridgefield (Directions to the church)
103 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT

Wednesday, May 19 at 2:30 p.m.
The Inn at Longshore (Directions)
260 Compo Road South
Westport, CT

In lieu of flowers, the family ask that contributions in Whitley's name be made to Tourism Cares.

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NTA Insurance Coverage Regarding Iceland Volcano    

Do you have questions about trip cancellations and the volcano ash cloud?  The NTA Travel Protection Plan provides Trip Cancellation coverage due to weather if that weather causes a complete cessation of a common carrier's services for at least 48 consecutive hours. In addition, the Travel Delay benefit includes reimbursement (up to US$500 per person) if your client is delayed for 12 hours or more due to a natural disaster. 

The ash cloud resulting from Iceland's volcano is considered by the NTA Travel Protection Plan insurer as both a weather event and a natural disaster. Those travelers who purchased the NTA TPP plan on or before April 14, 2010, and on or after May 5, 2010, would have coverage (as per the terms and conditions of the plan purchased) with regard to this or similar events.

Please note there is no coverage for the specific volcanic ash cloud events if your clients purchased the NTA TPP on or between the start and end dates noted below. Coverage would again become available for policies purchased on or after the end date.

  • Event 4 - Start May 16, End (TBD)
  • Event 3 - Start May 8, End May 14
  • Event 2 - Start May 3, 7 a.m., End May 3, 1 p.m.
  • Event 1 - Start April 14, End April 22

Once an ash cloud dissipates, and travel schedules resume to normal, new policies can afford coverage if a new ash cloud event interferes with airspace, and causes delays or cancellations (provided all requirements of the policy are met).

If there are future volcanic eruptions, coverage would apply, unless the Plan is purchased after the future event takes place for travel that is scheduled to take place during that event.

Should you or clients have any questions regarding the Iceland volcano and the NTA Travel Protection plan, please feel free to contact 1.800.388.1470.

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NTA, USA Represented at COTTM; Met with Henan Province Officials      NTA VP of Communications and Frank Fish, president of Travel Gallery, an approved operator of the China Inbound Program, met with Mr. Su Fugong, director of the Henan Provincial Tourism Bureau, and his associates, resulting in the signing of an agreement to strengthen tourism exchange and cooperation between Henan and NTA.

For the second year, NTA presented the USA Pavilion at the China Outbound Travel and Tourism Market. COTTM, held April 28-30 in Beijing, is the only show dedicated to the outbound market from China, so it's the perfect venue for NTA to host the pavilion and promote the China Inbound Program for the United States. Thousands of Chinese buyers attended the show, and the USA Pavilion was a big draw for the event. During COTTM, Tony Liu, NTA's new chief representative in China who will lead the Tourism USA office in Shanghai (which will open in a few months in cooperation with U.S. Commercial Service) gave a presentation to a standing room only crowd about NTA, the updated requirements for the China Inbound Program and the approved tour operators within the program. USA Pavilion exhibitors were: Bloomington (Minnesota) CVB; DTE Travel; Explore Minnesota; Galaxy Tour-Honolulu; The Group Tour Company; Mall of America; Starline Tours, Tour Coach Charters; Travel Portland and the Utah Office of Tourism.

Prior to COTTM, NTA Vice President of Communications Catherine Prather represented NTA on a trip to the Henan Province with Frank Fish, president of Travel Gallery, an approved operator of the China Inbound Program. During the visit, Prather met with Mr. Su Fugong, director of the Henan Provincial Tourism Bureau, resulting in the signing of an agreement to strengthen tourism exchange and cooperation between Henan and NTA.

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Gulf Coast Oil Spill Update      

See updates below from DMOs in the path of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Alabama Gulf Shore and Orange Beach:

To date, no oil has reached the beaches of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, and according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, none is expected for at least the next 48 hours. See the current NOAA map and forecast here. To read more from Alabama, click here

Florida Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key:

The beach has not been impacted by the oil spill, nor is there a current forecast for a projected landfall. The water is open for swimming and fishing, and quality Florida seafood is readily available. Click here to read more at the official Pensacola Beach Web site. 

New Orleans, Louisiana:

New Orleans is located approximately 100 miles inland and does not anticipate any disruption in guest service or impact to visitors, as oil reaches the islands of the extreme coastline of Louisiana, approximately 100 miles from New Orleans. The city is welcoming hundreds of thousands of business and leisure visitors this month, including cruise ship passengers. Click here for more. 

Mississippi Gulf Coast:

All reports of unidentified substances are being treated as tar balls on Mississippi's barrier islands and shorelines. Tests must be run to determine if indeed these are tar balls from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. As reports to the proper authorities are made, clean up crews are dispersed and a complete search of each area is made to make sure all suspicious items have been removed.  Mississippi's barrier islands, the Mississippi Sound, and shoreline remain open.

According to NOAA, tar balls DO NOT pose a health risk to the average person. However, beachgoers are advised not to pick them up if they encounter them on the beach and are asked to report any sightings by calling +1.866.448.5816. To read NOAA's information about the tar balls, click here. For answers to general questions related to the Mississippi Gulf Coast oil issue you may call +1.985.493.7822. Click here for more. 

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Airplanes Grounded Monday by Iceland Volcano Ash Cloud       

Airlines were forced to ground 1,000 flights across Europe on Monday as the Icelandic ash cloud closed terminals from Northern Ireland to the Netherlands. Most airspace was open again by Monday afternoon.

London Heathrow airport had more than 150 cancelations before flights resumed at 7 a.m. and Amsterdam Schiphol shut for seven hours until 1 p.m. Many operating flights were delayed.

More information:  Read this piece about the flight cancellations from Bloomberg Business Week. Eurocontrol's Twitter page is being constantly updated as the situation changes. Click here to see pictures of the volcano and its ash plumes. 

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Tourism Cares to Award IATAN Scholarship       Tourism Cares logo

Tourism Cares, NTA's official philanthropy dedicated to preserving the travel experience for future generations, is pleased to announce its partnership with International Airlines Travel Agent Network to benefit students of travel.

Tourism Cares has been chosen to administer the IATAN Ronald A. Santana Foundation Scholarship Fund. This foundation was established in 1996 in memory of the late Ronald A Santana, to recognize his dedication and tireless efforts toward the education of travel agents. This year, five US$1,000 IATAN Ronald A. Santana Memorial Professional Development Scholarships will be awarded to applicants who are entering or working in the travel, tourism or hospitality industry. Scholarships will be used for reimbursement of the costs of successfully completed travel-and-tourism or hospitality certificate programs at U. S. state-licensed schools. Applications are due by Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 5 p.m. EST. For more information, please visit the Tourism Cares Professional Development Scholarships Web site.

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Intro to New Social Media Network Foursquare      Foursquare

Foursquare is a new location-based platform where users can alert friends in real-time of their exact whereabouts by "checking in" to businesses on mobile phones. Not only is Foursquare effective in building connections between people and places, but it can also be a powerful business tool, allowing companies to increase their brand awareness, drive traffic to locations and expand their customer base.

Here are five simple ways to leverage Foursquare in your marketing efforts from Sandra Fathi, founder and president of Affect Strategies. 

  1. Offer incentives and giveaways. Foursquare is the perfect platform for this type of engagement, allowing businesses to attract a large number of visitors to their physical locations by awarding users with "badges" or free products based on how often a customer visits.
  2. Reward loyal customers. A little healthy Foursquare competition drives users to achieve the status of mayor of a location through frequent visits.
  3. Attract new customers. Every time a user checks in at your location, this is broadcast to his or her Foursquare network. Foursquare also enables users to announce their location status through other social networks, such as Twitter or Facebook. Users can include short messages recognizing great products or services, sharing tips or just shouting out to friends to come join them.
  4. Make a personal connection. Whether users are checking in at an event, tradeshow booth, retail location or office, these are unique opportunities for businesses to engage with customers.
  5. Marketing intelligence. Foursquare offers a free analytics tool and real-time dashboard, giving businesses the opportunity to track behavior and capture valuable data about their customers.

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Will your Product or Destination Be Featured in August Courier?        May Courier

For the fourth consecutive year, Courier ranks as the number-one valued magazine in the industry by NTA tour operators (above Packaged Travel Insider, Destinations, Group Tour Magazine, Group Travel Leader, etc). Additionally, when tour operators were asked if they could read only one travel industry magazine, they chose Courier as the number-one choice, beating the nearest competitor by 26 percent. Courier also enjoys a new, higher average pass along rate of 3.3.

Key features coming up in the August issue of Courier will be Theaters as well as Spas and Wellness Travel. The trip planner features will showcase the Pacific Northwest (British Columbia, Oregon and Washington), Greece and Turkey. The Travel Guide features will focus on Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ontario and Wisconsin. 

Space deadline is May 26.  Don't miss your chance to gain exposure to 1,500 tour operators moving nine million travelers annually. To reach your account executive call 800.682.8886, ext. 4241 (U.S. and Canada) or +1.859.226.4241. Make Courier a part of your annual strategic marketing plan.

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What's New in Travel News     

Here's a look at recent research, statistics and news that may apply to you and your business: 

  • New York State was the state most visited by overseas travelers for the seventh consecutive year, according to the 2009 Overseas Visitation to U.S. States, Cities and Traveler Characteristics Data release from the U.S. Department of Commerce.
  • British Airways canceled flights for more than 20,000 people today after a court ruling that blocked a strike by cabin crew came too late for the company to revert to a full timetable. Click here to read the full article from Bloomberg.
  • 58 percent of meeting professionals think current business conditions are better than a year ago, and that 64 percent think future business conditions will be better than a year ago, according to the MPI Business Barometer.

The links in this article are not monitored by NTA staff. Any bad links, expired pages, etc. are due to the constantly changing nature of Web sites.

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CEO Position Open with Black Hills, Badlands & Lakes Association    

As chief executive officer and chief operating officer of the nonprofit 501C6 Black Hills, Badlands & Lakes Association, the President is responsible for managing all aspects of the organization, tourism marketing programs and press relations for South Dakota's #1 visitor destination: Home of the Black Hills, Badlands and Mount Rushmore. Best tourism job in South Dakota.


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